BACK BAY AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS


"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"

BACK BAY AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS

"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"

BACK BAY AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS


"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"

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Welcome to the BBAA website

We are a group of dedicated amateur astronomers drawn together by a common interest in astronomy. Our club was founded on December 14, 1978 by members dedicated to promoting amateur astronomy.

We invite you to come to our any of our free monthly events to take a look through our telescopes and learn more about the night sky.

The BBAA is an active member society of the Astronomical League, a part of the Night Sky Network, and a member of the Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies (VAAS). We are also active on social media. Please visit our social media pages on BBAA Yahoo Group, BBAA Facebook Group, BBAA Twitter page, BBAA Facebook page and Instagram to stay up to date with our club's latest activities.

Clear skies

About the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers Club

The BBAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit scientific and educational organization dedicated to "Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads". We primarily achieve our club’s motto by interacting with the public through numerous outreach events every month at various locations around the Hampton Roads and surrounding area. The club was founded on December 14, 1978. We are a group of amateur astronomers drawn together by a common interest in astronomy. Our members range in age from preteens to seniors and our members experience level runs from novice to professionals. The BBAA is an active member society of the Astronomical League and a part of NASA's Night Sky Network. While most of our members come from the South side Hampton Roads cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, we have several members from the peninsula, outlying counties, and neighboring states. We work very hard to ensure that new members are welcomed and encouraged. If you would like to join our club and develop your interest in astronomy please visit our store page. We offer three levels of membership ranging from free for students to full club members who pay a modest dues fee.

Elected Officers for 2022

To help prevent spam the email addresses below are obscured. Please add the appropriate information below when emailing the club members.

OFFICE NAME EMAIL
President Shawn Loescher president and main url of our website without the http or www
Vice President Jeff Goldstein vp and main url of our website without the http or www
Treasurer Rich Roberts treasurer and main url of our website without the http or www
Secretary Jeff Thornton secretary and main url of our website without the http or www

Non-Elected Positions

OFFICE NAME EMAIL
Astronomical League Coordinator (ALCOR) Bruce Powers alcor and main url of our website without the http or www
Newsletter Editor Position Open editor and main url of our website without the http or www
RRRT Coordinator Bird Taylor rrrt and main url of our website without the http or www
Scholarship Committee Chair Ben Loyola benito -at loyola -dot com
Webmaster Shawn Loescher webmaster and main url of our website without the http or www
Marketing Managers Position Open info and main url of our website without the http or www
BBAA Store CoordinatorThe BBAA is looking for a club member to be the point of contact for members who want to order items through our store.
Position Open info and main url of our website without the http or www

Other Club Contacts

MORE CONTACTS NAME EMAIL
Have Questions? All BBAA Club Officers info and main url of our website without the http or www
Outreach Coordinator George Reynolds vp and main url of our website without the http or www

BBAA Outreach

The public is invited to come to our free monthly Skywatch event at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake to take a look through our telescopes at planets, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, and more! Come learn about the sky and about your place in the Universe. In addition we also hold a monthly event called Saturday "Sun" Day at the Elizabeth River Boat Landing and Park in Chesapeake that lets visitors see the Earth's closest star, the Sun. See our Events Calendar for scheduled dates and more information.

Other regular public events include Gardens Stars at the Norfolk Botanical Garden and Night Hike at Northwest River Park. During the height of the tourist season, we collaborate with the Virginia Beach Planetarium and the City of Virginia Beach to host Boardwalk Astronomy on the Virginia Beach boardwalk (near the 24th Street stage). We also do many other outreach events throughout the year at city parks, local schools and libraries. Organizations and members of the public can request that we attend their event by going to NASA's Night Sky Network website and filling out the request form. If you have any questions about scheduling an event please send an email to our Outreach Coordinator (vp and main url of our website without the http or www).

Help us fulfill our club motto of "Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads" by supporting our outreach events and donating your time, resources, or both. Thank you!

Donations to the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers are tax deductible as charitable donations on the donor's federal income tax return!


Club Meetings

Our monthly meetings are generally held in the Science and Technology Building (Bldg J) at the Tidewater Community College's Virginia Beach Campus when the school is open. Our meeting room is usually JC-12 (on the second floor above the planetarium), but may change depending upon classroom availability. The planetarium is the rounded end of the J Building, opposite the observatory.

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 PM and are open to the public. When classes are not in session at TCC, meetings are held at other locations that are announced on our official calendar. We also usually post the updates on our social media pages Groups.io site, Facebook Group, and our Facebook page.

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BBAA Scholarships

The BBAA scholarship programs offers financial assistance to graduating high school seniors in our area that demonstrate an avid interest in astronomy. The BBAA awards two scholarships each year. A general $1,500.00 scholarship and the Georgie June Memorial Astronomy Scholarship, increased in 2021 due to our donors generosity, from $500.00 to $1,000.00.

The scholarship recipients are determined in accordance to procedure outlined in our scholarship bylaws. To view the bylaws for the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers Scholarship Committee you can click here. The BBAA Scholarship Committee Chair is Ben Loyola and you can reach him at benito -at loyola -dot com. The scholarship awards will be distributed in the spring to the first and second place student applicants. The scholarship awards shall be in the form of a check payable to the college or university listed on the recipient’s scholarship application, or to such other college or university designated by the recipient to which the recipient has been accepted, or to the applicant if a college or university has not been determined. To apply, download our scholarship application form. If you would like to make a donation to our scholarship fund please go to the BBAA store and scroll down to the section marked "Donate to the BBAA Scholarship Fund".

Click Here for BBAA Scholarships Application

Georgie June

Georgie June was a passionate amateur astronomer and longtime active member of the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers and the club suffered a great loss with her passing after a long battle against cancer. Georgie was one of those rare individuals who made a positive impact on everyone she came into contact with. She served as the club’s Astronomical League Coordinator (ALCOR) for many years, and the enthusiasm and encouragement she displayed in that role have defined the job of ALCOR in our club to this very day. Her love of astronomy, which was rooted in a pure enjoyment of the beauty of the universe, was a source of inspiration to us all. To say she will be missed is an understatement. Please join us in remembering Georgie by giving to a scholarship that helps her memory live on by sharing her love of astronomy with future generations.

October 27, 1962 - March 28, 2015

Georgie June Scholarship Fund Raffle

Each year in the spring the BBAA sells raffle tickets with the proceeds funding our Georgie June Scholarship Fund. The tickets cost $10 each and are available for purchase from the four club officers. The prizes this year are:

- Apertura AD10 Dobsonian 10" Telescope This is a donated telescope that is in used but good condition.

- MagicMirror² electronic whiteboard that displays astronomical information in real time.

- 1.25" Orion SkyGlow Broadband Eyepiece Filter The SkyGlow filter enhances deep-sky observations in moderately light-polluted skies

- Orion 7.2-21.6mm Zoom Telescope Eyepiece The eyepiece allows you to change magnification power without swapping out eyepieces.

Click on this link to watch a video demonstration of the MagicMirror² in action. The MagicMirror² software is running on the latest version of the Raspberry Pi 4. This is a very versatile credit card sized computer that can be used as a desktop computer …and robot brains, smart home hub, media centre, networked AI core, factory controller, and much more. In this case it is being used to make a MagicMirror² which is similar to a whiteboard but this one is interactive and for your home. MagicMirror² is an open source modular smart mirror platform. With a growing list of installable modules, the MagicMirror² allows you to convert your mirror, extra monitor, or you can just use your TV, into your personal assistant. MagicMirror² focuses on a modular plugin system and uses Electron as an application wrapper. It is customizable with hundreds of modules that can be installed. For our purpose the modules will be astronomy related. You can browse the different modules that are available to be installed on the device. Here is a short video from its creator.

The drawing will be held during the BBAA monthly club meeting in April.

RAFFLE DATE: APRIL 7th 7:30PM - 9:00PM (BBAA Club Meeting)

RAFFLE LOCATION: Science BLDG , TCC , Virginia Beach, VA.

The winner does not have to be present, but will be required to make arrangements to pickup the prize at a later date if not present.

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Click here for a PDF of the raffle prizes


RRRT

The “Rapid Robotic Response Telescope” (RRRT) project is a joint collaboration between Norfolk State University and the University of Virginia to operate a robotic telescope at Fan Mountain Observatory near Charlottesville. The universities have generously allowed the BBAA to utilize the telescope for astrophotograhy. The 24-inch Ritchey-Chretien telescope is designed to operate remotely and studies gamma ray bursts, blazars, and other transient events. When not actively engaged in GRB work, students in the area and our members may use the scope for a variety of projects. The RRRT is apart of the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network. The Skynet Robotic Telescope Network or Skynet, is a global network of fully automated, or robotic telescopes serving professional astronomers and students over the Internet. Skynet telescopes are unique in that they are run by computers instead of by humans. Such telescopes are called robotic telescopes. Each evening, during good weather, the telescopes' domes open and the telescopes record data using request entered by members of the Skynet network. The RRRT Coordinator for the BBAA is Bird Taylor (rrrt and main url of our website without the http or www. For updates on the status of the RRRT, please check out their blog: https://rrrt-fmo.blogspot.com/. To see the current conditions at the RRRT https://skynet.unc.edu/sites/view?id=17. Click on this link to view an article from the Astronomical League's Reflector Magazine that was written by long time club member Ted Forte in September 2005. The article briefly covers the BBAA’s involvement with the project.

Fan Mountain Observatory, 15 miles south of Charlottesville, VA